The Senate voted in favor of calling witnesses in Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial on Saturday, a move that will likely delay the trial that was expected to end today.
The unexpected 55-45 vote, which included five Republicans, was prompted when more details emerged about a January 6th call between House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump.
Impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin called for testimony from Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), who confirmed the details of the call in which Trump brushed off requests to make a statement that might quell the ongoing insurrection.
“Last night Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State issued a statement confirming that in the middle of the insurrection when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the president to beg for help, President Trump responded, and I quote, ‘Well, Kevin I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,’ ” Raskin said.
“Needless to say this is an additional critical piece of corroborating evidence further confirming the charges before you as well as the president’s willful dereliction of duty and desertion of duty as commander of the United States, his state of mind and his further incitement of the insurrection on January 6th,” Raskin added.
Trump’s lawyer Michael van der Veen balked at the idea, saying, “We should close this case out today.”
On Friday, Herrera Beutler released a statement pleading with fellow Republicans who also heard Trump side with the mob that day.
“To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time,” the congresswoman said.
It’s doubtful that hearing from witnesses will garner the 17 Republican votes needed to convict the former president. And, unsurprisingly, Republicans like Senator John Cornyn, a staunch Trump ally, are railing against the idea, labeling the proceedings a kangaroo court.
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